Monday, June 29, 2015

4th of July Inspiration and a Dialogue about Creative Spark..

Well, I am back.  Time flies when you are having fun!!  June has been full of all sorts of activity.  First, my daughter had a major horse show in California.  Preparation to getting her ready is always time consuming. She and my husband flew and the horses were ground shipped so everything had to be accounted for and checked and rechecked to make sure all arrived in a timely manner.  I unfortunately was unable to go.  I stayed home to root from Texas.   During their week long absence, my sister came to visit.   My sister, Alicia, is an amazing paper-crafter.  When we visit each other, the hostess teaches one new technique and then we make cards with that concept.  What I learn is that I am very much inside of my own box. I craft alone except when she visits.  I need inspiration from outside to keep me motivated to create new and different.
This visit, I was the hostess, so I planned on continuing with my background/mixed media experimentation.   While I like layers and complexity, she prefers more "controlled" organized simple concepts.  Magic happens when we meet up.  I have an opportunity to explore a different path with the same tools.  I often come away with a new focus, or an appreciation for something I maybe thought of but discounted, or an entirely new idea.  Today's cards are the result of our weekend.  The final card was mailed to Alicia from me for the 4th of July, but it is truly a combined inspiration.

So, lets start with the background.  We used all the same techniques as I had shared with my blog post regarding background experimentation.  Only this time, I used the ink pads applied onto an acrylic block and then placed over, a slightly dampened piece of water color paper. This allowed for more control and the ability to see where the ink was going.  We had the idea to make a distressed "flag" background.

The basic Background
So to recap, I used a Tim Holtz stencil, stars.  Sponged distress embossing ink over the stencil and embossed with clear embossing powder.  On an acrylic block applied Fired Brick and Mermaid Lagoon, spritzed with water and then applied the inked block to water colored paper that had been misted with water.  The ink bled under the embossed stars giving a rustic appearance.  There is a lighter area in the center, this was where there was no ink.  For the next step, I used the same ink, with an ink blending tool and evened out the inking and thus covering up the white area without having to worry about "messing" up the perfect areas.  I also applied Walnut Stain around the edges to enhance those darker edges where the red met the blue.  They look brown in this photo but were more of a dark purple.

We made a stack of backgrounds of various colors and techniques.  These will be turned into cards at a later date.  But my first task was to create a card from just one of the backgrounds.  At home, missing my sister, and thrown into "normal life", I seemed to lack inspiration. Thus the time lag.  

 I pulled stamps and colored, played and made a mess.  Even stopped to "organize" my organized stamps once more.  The problem was that  I  just could not see how what I had in the way of stamps would work with this background.  Part of the issue was that this background was rustic.  Almost Cowboy rustic, old and tattered, not what I usually make, more bright and happy.  Everything I tried was too "modern" or stylized. That furry bear with drums and pipes, too cute, the skyline too modern, but what?   So back to the cowboy thing.  Well,I do live in Texas, and there is no lack of inspiration for "this look", but it was too expected.  But how and what could tie all that together?
The inspiration hit like a hammer.  The idea of "Easy Rider"came flooding into my head. This is a movie from before time, I think, well 1969 to be exact.  A movie with Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda.  It is a motorcycle saga, reminiscent of those old cowboy movies.  Only instead of horses they used motorcycles and the cowboys were not outlaws in "the cowboy sense, but drug dealers.  The formula was the same as the old Westerns, only time and circumstance being different.   The characters were outlaws from conventional society,  they had rejected the established norms and were being hunted by the law. This new "western" created quite a stir and soon movie goers and society realized that motorcycles could be a legitimate American art form, and the term Ironhorse was born.  

Sounds good!! Well, actually the rest of the story is that I suddenly remembered having 
the perfect stamp!!   Snoopy, the dog from Peanuts the comic strip, riding on a Harley !  If I backed him by an American Flag (artisitic license here),  it could be seen as rather rustic and patriotic at the same time. That Harley is sure outdated and Snoopy is well, old.   He first appeared in print in October of 1950, and was one of the main protagonist of the strip.  I think he might have been the inspiration for Easy Rider, LOL.     

How perfect!!!  So the card became.   I am not sure that anyone else will see that spark of inspiration, that set me on this path of creativity.  It often is those little things that start us on our way.  That little bit of inspiration, a little spark, a little glimmer or a fond memory that leads to a flood of creativity.  

My point in discussing the inspiration for this card,  is to show that when we sit down to create that spark has to come from somewhere.  It is present in everything we create. Even when try to recreate  someone else's  work, it will have a distinct difference because of what we bring to the table from our skill set and our past experiences.  Truly, I did not think of "Easy Rider"  with all the analytical comparison between modern day "cowboys" and  the old time Western Cowboys, but I was looking for that "cowboy edge".   My inspiration was  that movie, with it's motorcycle genre, coupled with the knowledge that I had a Snoopy Stamp on a Motorcycle that led to this design.  I will admit that the George Patton Movie scene showing him giving a speech in front of an American Flag did flit across my mind, but that is another topic altogether.
So enough about inspiration.  How did I make this card.  Well I had the back ground completed.  So, Snoopy was stamped onto Neenah Solar White card stock in Memento Tuxedo black and colored with Copics.  The image was enhanced with a silver Gel pen and Wink of Stella added to the glimmer.  I die cut stars from glitter paper and adhered them onto the back ground.  
Close up of the Sparklers.  This was very hard to capture with a photo, but the idea is there.  
Now all I needed was fireworks.  These too  were a spark of inspiration.  I started with circles  I had cut circles from white  card stock and stamped a flower image that "sort of looked like sparks with versamark and then heat embossed with a glittery embossing powder.  Not quite right!  The circle of white made them look like UFO's.   So I repeated this  process on Velum and then cut away any excess paper to give the image of fireworks. The center was colored with a grey copic and then Silver Wink of Stella added on top of the entire image followed by clear Wink of Stella.  The result was a multiple level of sparkle. Subtle at some point and stronger in other areas.  The center was dark enough to hide the glue and foam dot that was needed to give them dimension.  A simple greeting, then layered  the card front onto silver card stock and then popped it onto a  bright blue note card.   Not bad!!!  I need to go watch that movie again, it has been awhile!!  I bet Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda haven't aged a bit, but I have!!!
Until, next time,
Happy crafting.  Josette 

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